Gen X Women Will Not Be Shrinking Violets As We Age

by Christine Organ

There’s this common belief – nay, stereotype – that once women reach a certain age, we quietly slip away into the background. Well, you know what? Fuck that noise. We Gen X women will not go gently into that good night. We will follow Dylan Thomas’s advice, and rage, rage, rage. And you know what? We’re gonna do it our own way, with our own typical Gen X cool nonchalance.

We Gen Xers are used to being overlooked. As battles rage between Millennials and Gen Zers, with Baby Boomers shaking their fist and yelling “get off my lawn” at just about everyone, we’ve stood on the sidelines watching it all go down with a meh, whatever attitude. Meanwhile, we’ve been casually kicking ass and taking names.

We don’t get embarrassed and defensive when we find out that our clothes aren’t trendy (I think the kids might say something like bussing or drippy, but I’m sure even those words are outdated by now). We don’t mind that our knee-high boots or joggers are considered cheugy. Sure, my teens might call me “sweaty” when I work hard putting together a presentation for work. But we Gen Xers know that it takes being a little “sweaty” to get shit done.

And we’ve got the bank to prove it. According to Forbes, 40 million 50+ American women represent over $15 trillion dollars in purchasing power and are the healthiest, wealthiest, and most active generation in history. So take that, folks. You wanna pretend we don’t exist? That’s cool. We’ll take our dollars elsewhere, thankyouverymuch.

We’re gonna keep taking up space. Keep talking about how weird and confusing your 40s and 50s are. Keep taking care of our mental health by meditating and doing yoga and seeing a therapist to talk about how weird and confusing our 40s and 50s are.

We’re gonna keep having as much sex as we want. Keep wearing what we want. Keep looking how we want, and acting how we want.

Instead of reaching for the bottle of hair dye, we’re giving the middle finger to that old taboo that say grey hair is for grandmas. We’re going grey. Or not. Maybe we’re dying our hair pink or adding blue streaks.

We’re getting tattoos and wearing stilettos and combat boots. When we say we DGAF about what we “should wear” or how we “should look,” we really mean it. We grew up with banana clips and jelly shoes and pegged jeans. We were the ones who started the flannel and Timberlands trend, remember?

We Gen Xers are the forgotten generation. The latchkey kids. The drinking-water-from-the-hose, staying-out-until-the-streetlights-came-on, making-ourselves-microwave-dinners generation. We grew up knowing that no one gave a shit about what we were doing back then, and we know that no one gives a shit about what we’re doing now. And because of that, we don’t take ourselves (too) seriously. We try things. And fail. A lot.

We’re taking risks. Big ones and small ones. We’re saying goodbye to things that aren’t working of us and building news things in their place. We’re going back to school and launching nonprofits and starting our own business – maybe even starting businesses that cater to other women in their 40s and 50s.

We’re writing novels and taking up new hobbies. We’re doing TikTok dances and embarrassing our kids by actually posting them. That’s what happens when you have a free-range childhood filled with lots of boredom and free time – you get really good at trying things and failing and then trying something else. And we Gen X women are here for it. We’re experts at inventing and reinventing ourselves.

We’re fresh out of fucks and calling out the bullshit. We’re tired of the status quo. With inspiration from our Millennial siblings and our Gen Z children, we’ve realized that all those stereotypes about what it means to be a “woman of a certain age” are complete bullshit. We understand that we’ve been fed a bunch of lies. We’ve been gaslighted for years – no, for generations – because the world doesn’t know what to do with all of this fierce complexities of middle age women. We’re breaking free from these lies, including the lie that says we shouldn’t talk about the emotional mindfuck that are your 40s and 50s are. We’ve got tea and we’re ready to spill it.

Some might call us cynical; we call ourselves pragmatists. Some might say we’re bitter and resentful; we say we’re filled with righteous indignation. Some might say we’re angry; we say, hell yeah, we’re ragey as fuck and for good reason.

So look out, folks. Gen X ain’t going anywhere. We will not go gently or otherwise. We will rage.

We will put on our favorite t-shirt from that Pearl Jam concert in 1995, and we will fucking rage, dammit.